Yes, that's right. Good morning, I'm Michael., And I understand there were hundreds of workers and their children killed building this viaduct, this miracle of British engineering. Gosh, that's really shocking. Yes. And I find myself strangely moved. Hundreds of people died, making this structure. They really were the good, old days. Long gone, I'm afraid.
None of the brave employers - fortunately - suffered any mishap, though, and I understand that they paid for an extension to the local graveyard, to put the children in, the ones who died of Smallpox, from the overcrowding. That's the sort of folk that Tories are, they may work people to death but at least they give them a decent burial, sort of, good enough for the likes of them.
Just as well - I venture, at times like this, wearing my Radio Four Moral Maze hat, I am, after all, a paid moralist - just as well, that there weren't any trade unions or any of that infernal health and safety rubbish when we were building the railways - well, not we, but the dirty, poor people - otherwise, can you imagine the trouble it would have caused? I can tell you that there would have been no end of complaints about lethal danger, and filthy, overcrowded accommodation and hardly anything would have got done.
And I should just recall for you that when Mrs, as she then was, Thatcher most graciously made me her seckatry of trade and industry the very first thing, the very very first thing I thundered - well, hissed, actually - was that I Am Not In The Business Of Making Deals With Trade Unions. (I could say that sort of thing then because I 'wasn't gay and I could also support all the anti-gay legislation. Because I wasn't gay. And that's why - not being gay - I couldn't run for prime minister and fetched up with all the fags and paedos in TellyLand ) . So you can jolly well imagine how I would have dealt with the filthy navvies who made this wonderful example of British engineering, working in all weathers for a fucking pittance . A spell in the stocks and a week or two on bread and water. It's the only thing these poor people understand. Either that or set the Army on them.
Did I tell you that I'm half English, half Scottish, half American, half Spanish and that my father inspired Picasso. No, no, it's true, it says so, here in my Bradshaw's guide, under Holidays in DagoLand.
Join me next time for another dose of cack-handed stupidity and hypocrisy.
Yes Andrew, that's right, I think of myself as a sort of a rich man's Fred Dibnah, although Mr Dibnah knew what he was talking about and I, of course, haven't a fucking clue. Still, why should that matter, never has before.